Toronto-If you are under the age of 30 and are sexually active, it is time to start testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) each year, following new guidelines published by the Canadian Preventive Medicine Task Force.
The Task Force published new guidelines for testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Monday.
The Task Force recommends annual doctor or self-administration tests for people between the ages of 15 and 29, even when outside the high-risk population. The recommendations suggest that doctors will provide tests when the opportunity arises so that patients do not have to request or schedule individual appointments.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported sexually transmitted diseases in Canada, with infection rates increasing since 2000. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are reported to be the highest among those aged 15-29, and experts report that these numbers are underreported.
Chlamydia infection rates in people aged 15-29 years are reported to be 1.0-1.9% of the population, but experts believe it is close to 5-7% in unreported cases.
The guidelines want to capture cases in populations that are not considered to be at high risk for STI.
The new guidelines are aimed at capturing asymptomatic cases of untreated STI. Treatments for both chlamydia and gonorrhea are antibiotics.
Untreated chlamydia can cause cervicitis, inflammatory pelvic disease, and even infertility in women. Women are also at risk for pelvic inflammatory disease with untreated gonorrhea. In men, untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, inflammation of the ducts behind the testicles that carry and store sperm.
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